Brianna Ghey: Who are her teenage killers Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe?

Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe were both 15 when they lured fellow pupil Brianna to Culcheth’s Linear Park before stabbing her 28 times with a hunting knife. Credit: Cheshire Police

Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe were both 15 when they lured fellow school pupil Brianna Ghey to Culcheth's Linear Park in Warrington, before stabbing her 28 times with a hunting knife in a "sustained and violent" assault.

The pair were known only as Girl X and Boy Y during their trial at Manchester Crown Court due to legal restrictions on identifying them because of their ages.

But after they were found guilty of murder, judge Mrs Justice Yip ruled there was "a strong public interest" to name them.

The pair lost their anonymity on 2 February and were sentenced to life in prison - Jenkinson to a minimum of 22 years, and Ratcliffe to a minimum of 20.

How could two seemingly ‘innocent’ teenagers became killers, concocting a kill list, luring Brianna into a park and stabbing her, in a "frenzied and ferocious" attack, 28 times?

After their convictions the Crown Prosecution Service said the pair had been a "deadly influence" on each other.

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Ursula Doyle, of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said: "[They] turned their dark fantasies about murder into a reality.

"The extensive messages between the two, planning and plotting to kill people, talking of murder, torture and cruelty, were difficult to read.

"[They] provided a terrifying insight into the minds of the two defendants, but also revealed the detailed planning of their attack and subsequent attempts to cover it up."

Who are the teenage killers?

Scarlett Jenkinson. Credit: Cheshire Police
  • Scarlett Jenkinson

Scarlett Jenkinson, now 16, came across as a "polite and quiet child" when she first began attending Birchwood High School, where Brianna was also a pupil, in 2022.

But headteacher, Emma Mills, says it's hard to reconcile the pupil who presented at school, with the calculating killer and self-proclaimed "satanist" she has become.

"With Scarlet there was absolutely no indication," she said. "She was with us for about 10 weeks and there was no indication in any way whatsoever that she was capable of doing what she did to Brianna.

"She was a quiet, polite student who came to school."

Scarlett Jenkinson asks officers during her arrest whether it was because "I was the last to see her"

She added: "I think it’s difficult when you’ve sat in a courtroom and you’ve heard what happened to Brianna; you've heard the text messages that went between Eddie and Scarlett and you think that you would know in some way, that there would be some sort of indication of the person who was capable of those things.

'I don’t know what an indication would be that somebody is capable of such an atrocity but there was nothing in school that we saw."

At age 14, Jenkinson, from Warrington, had downloaded an anonymous internet browsing app to enjoy watching videos of the torture and murder of real people in "red rooms" on the "dark web".

She grew an interest in serial killers, making notes on their methods and admitted enjoying "dark fantasies" about killing and torture, the court was told.

Jenkinson compiled notes on killers including Richard Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker, and the notorious cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer.

When asked in court what she enjoyed about the idea of killing, she said: "I’m not exactly sure, I just found the overall thing quite interesting I guess."

Notes on serial killers were found in Scarlett Jenkinson's room. Credit: Cheshire Police

She first met Brianna under a 'managed transfer' of schools, and when she met Ms Mills in October 2022 ahead of the move she appeared "really positive".

"We discussed some targets with her and we talked about the rules that are here at Birchwood and what she would have to adhere to," Ms Mills said.

"She came across as a very polite and quiet child who was very positive about coming to the school and really positive about being able to meet the targets we set.

"My impressions of it was someone that was very polite and quite quiet."

The teenager, who has traits of autism and ADHD, met Brianna while in an inclusion room at school, although the pair were never alone together.

Ms Mills says there had been "no red flags" about admitting her to the school.

"If I went back in time and I knew exactly what I know now, then no, I wouldn't accept Scarlett into the school.

"But it's hard to learn from this in that way because there was no indication of anything sinister in terms of behaviour previously, or behaviour while she was in the school."

She added: "It's really surreal and I think it would be very easy to kind of fall into that mindset of 'you can't trust anybody, it could be anybody that's capable of such things'.

"But with Scarlett it's a one in a billion chance that you come across somebody in your life that is capable of something like this, and never mind a child that's capable of something like this."

Eddie Ratcliffe is serving a life term for the murder of Brianna Ghey Credit: Cheshire Constabulary/PA
  • Eddie Ratcliffe

Eddie Ratcliffe, also now 16, is from Leigh.

The teenager, who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and is non-verbal, passed eight GCSEs and was self-teaching himself A-levels with a view to study microbiology at university.

His father is a manager in industry, and mother works in the creative industries.

Following his arrest he "gradually stopped speaking" to anyone apart from his mother, and had been diagnosed with selective mutism.

Footage shows Eddie Ratcliffe getting on a bus after the attack

He had been a kickboxer, who, Jenkinson’s lawyer said, "knew how to deliver a punch".

Ratcliffe, who also avoids all eye contact, was often seen in court carrying a Sudoku puzzles book.

He gave evidence by typing on a keyboard, sat behind a desk in a side room of the courtroom with his answers spoken by an intermediary sat beside him, and watched by the jury in the courtroom by video link.

He said he went along with Jenkinson’s "dark fantasies", but did not take them seriously, as she was "always talking about murder and nothing happens".

A notebook, found at Jenkinson’s house, described Ratcliffe as "very, very smart, genius level" but also a "sociopath", lacking emotion and socially awkward, who only had three followers on Instagram.

Brianna Ghey was murdered by Eddie Ratcliffe and Scarlett Jenkinson in February 2023 Credit: family handout/PA

Why did the pair target Brianna?

Detective Superintendent Mike Evans, Head of Crime at Cheshire Police, said he believed Jenkinson and Ratcliffe had a "thirst for killing", and it was Brianna’s vulnerability and accessibility that made her a target.

Mr Evans said: "I think if it hadn’t been Brianna it would have been one of the four other children on that list.

"It’s just that Brianna was the one who was accessible at that time, and then became the focus of those desires, so to speak.

"And I accept now you look at the text messages, I think, on the sort of side of the boy, there’s some horrific, dehumanising and transphobic messages in there, but actually when you look at the girl involved, she almost admires/is obsessed with Brianna.

"So I still think to this day, Brianna wasn’t killed because she was transgender.

"And possibly the fact she was transgender made her that little bit more vulnerable and accessible."

In his police interviews, Ratcliffe said he spoke about killing Brianna because he hated not being included with friends.

He said he thought it was wrong but did not say so because he knew Jenkinson wouldn't like him if he did.

CCTV captured Brianna Ghey meeting Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe at the bus stop before they murdered her. Credit: Cheshire Police

Why couldn't they be named until now?

A court order was granted following their first appearance in court in February 2023 - after being they were charged with murder.

The order, made under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, meant the media could not publish any details which would lead to the two defendants being identified.

Following their conviction for Brianna's murder, an application, made by the PA News agency and ITV on behalf of the media, applied to the trial judge for the order to be lifted, so that Girl X and Boy Y could be named in future reports.

Brianna's family supported the application.

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